Tuesday, March 15, 2005


I've been reading Burningbird a lot recently, and boy is she on top form. A lot of her recent posts have been in the metablogging (blogging about blogging) category: in particular, about the circles of "successful" — so-called A-list — bloggers.

Links are the currency of trade here; a link from a successful blog brings audience and so increases reputation. But the blog world is cliquey; successful bloggers tend to link to other successful bloggers. And so the in-crowd forms.

And surprise surprise: as Steven Levy recently noted in the mainstream press, most of the blogging in-crowd are male and white.

In Guys Don't Link, Burningbird skewers the whole Google Toolbar furore in style: all the "don't add links to my pages" complainants are in-crowd male bloggers, for whom links equate with power. Her writing is witty, but it's also angry:

Sites such as Technorati become the internet version of a locker room, where the guys can hang around, comparing themselves to each other. Those that come up short look at their better endowed brothers with both envy and admiration; sucking up in order to increase their own stature.

When we women ask the power-linkers why they don’t link to us more, what we're talking about is communication, and wanting a fair shot of being heard; but what the guys hear is a woman asking for a little link love. Hey lady, do you have what it takes? More important, are you willing to give what it takes?

Groupies and blogging babes, only, need apply.
In Our Weekly Allowance, she asks:

Is the trick for being a successful female weblogger to promote ourselves among the A-list? Does this mean, then, that we must act nice, be nice, to the A-List, in order to get the notice resulting in a 'successful' weblog? Well if that’s true, then I’m really screwed.
In You Are Hurting Us, a response to the Levy piece, she notes the immediate "no, we are diverse" response from white male bloggers:

I knew as soon as I saw the Steve Levy article that we would see a backlash about the domination of whites and males in the weblogging ranking systems.


To the white guys who have been proclaiming your race and sex with such pride: It would seem that not only are you not content with being king of the hill, you also want to be chief underdog, too. Not content to being the center of too many dialogs within weblogging, you also want to be the center of one discussion that, oddly enough, doesn't center around you: being a weblogger who is not a male, or is not white, or both.
before railing against the popularity culture of weblogging:

Dave Sifry from Technorati: Dave, you are hurting us.

The Technorati Top 100 is too much like Google in that 'noise' becomes equated with 'authority'. Rather than provide a method to expose new voices, your list becomes nothing more than a way for those on top to further cement their positions.
This is great writing: passionate, well-thought out, expressive, and unafraid. Bravo.

It all seems a long way off though for this Z-list blogger: my readership consists of a handful of family and friends, plus anyone who stumbles in through the "Next Blog" button or a misguided Google search. Do I need more readers to be successful? Probably not to meet my original goals for this blog: "keep in touch" and "write more often and more widely".